8 Essential Wines for Spring 2017
Back in the Neolithic era of American dining (i.e., the 1970s), wine lists even at the priciest places often featured a house pour: a simple red and white, inexpensive and, ideally, delicious. Today, when many casual chain restaurants offer 20 or more wines by the glass, that approach has largely disappeared—but I’d like to make a case for reviving it at home.
The point is to always have a wine on hand that you love, something you can pour at a moment’s notice. Tune your pick to your palate, and steer toward what’s affordable, so you won’t think twice about opening another bottle. (Urban legend has it that Mick Jagger’s house pour at one time was Château Margaux, which can run well over $500 a bottle—but Sir Mick lives large and has the means to do so. The rest of us can be content with something in the $15 to $20 range.)
And why not choose a wine with personal significance? I often stock up on Tasca d’Almerita’s simple Sicilian Regaleali Nero d’Avola. Besides the fact that it’s a terrific value, full of juicy dark-fruit flavors, my wife and I spent our honeymoon in Sicily, where we visited the Tasca family’s beautiful winery. Each time I pour one of their wines, I get the added bonus of a rush of happy memories. I can’t speak to what’s meaningful to you, of course, but here are eight great bottles that are excellent possibilities for your own house pour. —Ray Isle